UN: War crimes on both sides in Syria
The UN Human Rights Council said Wednesday war crimes have been committed by both the Assad regime, and the rebels in Syria. Meanwhile, government war planes bombed a rebel-held town, killing more than 20.
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The area appeared to be no more than a poor, residential neighborhood with a few metal workshops, and residents said there were no rebel bases there, though they often do not speak openly about where rebels operate.Skip to next paragraph
In Pictures Battle for the heart of Syria: inside Aleppo
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Azaz has considered itself "liberated" since rebel forces pushed out the army last month. Its largest rebel group, the Northern Storm Brigade, runs a prison and the nearby border crossing with Turkey. It's political and media offices are less than a mile (kilometer) away from the bombing site, in the former local headquarters of Assad's Baath party.
Along with about 15 Syrian prisoners, the rebels are currently holding 11 Lebanese Shiites they detained a month ago. Nour, the activist, said four of them were missing after the bombing, though he was not sure if they had been killed. He said the building they were being held in was hit.
About a dozen rebel fighters in camouflage vests flocked to the scene after the bombings, scanning the skies for more jets. None of them carried more than a Kalashnikov rifle.
In nearby Aleppo, activists reported shelling and clashes in the city, where rebels have taken control of several neighborhoods over the past weeks. The Syrian
Observatory for Human Rights said the rebels were trying to take over a key dam in the northern town of Manbij, east of Aleppo. It said the army was using helicopter gunships in the battles along the Euphrates River.
U.S.-based Human Rights Watch said Syrian government fighter planes fired rockets that struck the main hospital in an opposition-controlled area of Aleppo a day earlier, wounding two civilians and causing significant damage. The group said its members visited the damaged hospital.
There were fresh signs Wednesday that the civil war was spilling across the border into Lebanon, a country ravaged by its own 15-year civil war that Syria was deeply involved in, and which is sharply divided between supporters and opponents of Assad's regime.
Syrian rebels have adopted a new tactic of seizing prisoners from countries or foreign groups allied with the regime to rattle Assad and his allies outside the country, such as the 11 Lebanese Shiites captured in May shortly after they crossed from Turkey on their way to Lebanon. Earlier this month, rebels abducted 48 Iranians near the capital, Damascus.
On Wednesday, Sunni power Saudi Arabia ordered its citizens to leave Lebanon, citing fear of kidnappings by Shiites angry over the rebels taking prisoners from Lebanon and Iran.
In Damascus, a bomb attached to a fuel truck exploded Wednesday outside a hotel where U.N. observers are staying, wounding at least three people, Syrian state TV reported. Activists also reported clashes near the government headquarters and the Iranian Embassy in Damascus.